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fostered by a corrupt taste in theatrical matters; and those defects in turn, meeting with applause instead of correction, tend to increase and perpetuate the evil. For the rest, his success is a proof that his work affords striking situations and dramatic interest. He has developed his matter with breadth and simplicity of purpose, instead of breaking it up into highly-wrought details and insulated scenes; and this is the first great requisite in order to'produce effect on miscellaneous readers and spectators. Even his style, of which we have thought it our duty to present a few singular specimens, is, on other occasions, wanting neither in power nor richness. When he lays aside affectation, and condescends to employ continuous dramatic dialogue, there is an energy about him not unworthy of the scenes and epochs which he has chosen to represent. 'Bating a little fantastic language, and the historical absurdity of making Vane intercede with Pym and Hampden for Strafford, we cannot give a fairer specimen than the following, from the fourth Act. The chiefs of the Puritans, foiled by Strafford's ready defence against the articles of impeachment, are in deliberation about changing their course of proceeding for a bill of attainder.

But hear me,

Rudyard. Till now all hearts were with you. I withdrew
For one! Too horrible! O, we mistake
Your purpose, Pym; you cannot snatch away
The last spar from the drowning man.

Fiennes (to the rest). You'll join us ? mind, we own he merits death :
But this new course is monstrous ! Vane, take heart :
This bill of his attainder shall not have
One true man's hand to it!
Vane.

Pym!
Confront your bill your own bill—what is it?
You cannot catch the Earl on any charge:
No man will say the law has bold on him
On any charge : and therefore you resolve
To take the general sense on his desert,
As though no law existed, and we met
To found one You refer to every man
To speak bis thought upon this hideous mass
Or half-borne-out assertions-dubious bints
Hereafter to be cleared-distortions—ay,
And wild inventions. Every man is saved
The task of fixing any single charge
On Strafford : he has but to see in him
The enemy of England !
Рут.

A right scruple:
I have heard some called England's enemy
With less consideration.
Vane.

Pity me!
Me-brought so low--- who hoped to do so mucha

For England --her true servant. Pym your friend
Indeed you made me think I was your friend!
But I have murdered Strafford! I have been
The instrument of this! who shall remove
That memory from me?
Рут. .

I absolve you, Vane :
Take you no care for aught that you have done.

Vane. Dear Hampden, not this bill! Reject this bill!
He staggers through the ordeal let him go,
Strew no fresh fire before him.
Rudyard.

Hampden, plead
For us! When Strafford spoke, your eyes were thick
With tears ! -Save him, dear Hampden!
Hampden.

England speaks
Louder Than Strafford. Who are we, to play
The generous pardoner at her expense.-
Magnanįmously waive advantages
And if he conquer us—applaud his skill ?

Vane (to Pym). He was your friend.
Pym.

I have heard that before.
Fiennes. But England trusts you.
Hampden.

Shame be his, who turns
The opportunity of serving her
She trusts him with, to bis own mean account-
Who would look nobly frank at her expense !

Fiennes. I never thought it could have come to this.
Pym (turning from St John). But I have made myself familiar, Fiennes,
With that one thought-have walked, and sat, and slept,
That thought before me! I have done such things,
Being the chosen man that should destroy
This Strafford ! You have taken up that thought
To play with-for a gentle stimulant-
To give a dignity to idler life
By the dim prospect of this deed to come-
But ever with the softening, sure belief
That all would come some strange way right at last.

Fiennes. Had we made out some weightier charge.

Pym.
That these are pelty charges ! Can we come
To the real charge at all ?

There he is safe,
In tyranny's stronghold. Apostasy
Is not a crime-Treachery not a crime-
The cheek burns, the blood tingles, when you name
Their names, but where's the power to take revenge
Upon them? We must make occasion serve :
The oversight pay for the giant sin
That mocks us!

Rudyard. But this unexampled course!
This Bill.

Pym. By this, we roll the clouds away
Or precedent and custom, and at once
The conscience of each bosom-shine upon
The guilt of Strafford : each shall lay his hand
Upon his breast, and say is this one man

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We would willingly add to this quotation, did our limits permit us, the whole of the first Scene of the fifth Act, which in our judgment displays the author's talent in a still more favourable light. But we should only injure its effect by making partial extracts; and must therefore conclude with an earnest request to Mr Browning, to try his own work by comparison with better standards than those which he appears to have proposed to himself, and to remember that without correctness of taste no writing can be permanently popular. He has sacrificed far too much to the seductions of theatrical clap-trap : a better and a manlier tone might win him fewer plaudits from green-room critics, but it would in the end secure him more solid triumphs. Let him remember Dryden's apologies for his own desertion of the standard of good taste to accommodate himself to the perverted relish of the town. • I remember some • verses of my Maximin,' says he in the preface to the Spanish • Fryar, which cry vengeance upon me for their extravagance. • All I can say for those passages, which are, I hope, not many, • is, that I knew they were bad when I wrote them. But I re• pent of them amongst my sins; and, if any of their fellows

intrude by chance into my present writings, I draw a stroke over • all those Dalilahs of the theatre, and anı resolved I will settle • myself no reputation by the applause of fools. 'Tis not that • I am mortified to all ambition; but I scorn as much to take it • from half-written judges, as I should to raise an estate by cheating of bubbles.' Dryden should have divided a little more fairly the sin and the scandal between his half-witted judges,' and such authors as himself

, who pampered and pandered to their perverse inelinations. It would be more erroneous to suppose, that the mixed audience of a theatre is unsusceptible of more refined and purer perceptions. On the contrary, although the less critical multitude is generally slow in acquiring correctness of taste, it is also the last to abandon the cause of good taste, when once acquired, and to follow the more mercurial leaders of

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Act I, Scene Il.

the fashion into corrupt extravagance. The plays of the severely classical Alfieri afford at this day, if we may believe M. de Sismondi, the favourite amusement of the Tuscan peasantry, of wbom but few can read or write. Racine and Voltaire still continue to be, or were until very lately, the delight of the French populace, though the intellectual classes' bad gone wandering after the idolatries of the romantic school. The bighest of all rewards, therefore, awaits those who may succeed in improving the theatrical spirit of their age, in the prospect of a permanency

of fashion and fame. Those, on the contrary, who contribute to depreciate it, or who merely copy the bad models which it holds out to them for initation, will soon see their own evanescent popularity eclipsed by that of successors as unworthy as themselves.

ART.V.-Athens, its Rise and Fall; with Views of the Litera

ture, Philosophy, and Social Life of the Athenian People. By EDWARD LYTTON BULWER, ESQ., M.P. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1837.

The indications of extracts from the work, refer to Baudry's edition, printed

in Paris, the 2 vols. comprised in one.

This book has taken us somewhat by surprise. The Rise and THIS

Fall of Athens, from the pen of Mr Edward Bulwer, would present us, we expected, with a series of elaborate and brilliant scenes, chosen out from the Attic annals, concentrating on a few memorable points the interest of that unparalleled story, and finished with such minute attention to character, costume, colouring, and grouping, as the author of Rienzi' and . Pompeii' knows so well how to bestow. The light of his quick and vivid intellect would rather seek, we thought, to touch and gild the most commanding heights, than to diffuse itself over a multiplicity of objects, scattered along a more uniform surface. And, with his work before us, we still believe, both that this plan would have been the most judicious in its design, and that the peculiar powers of Mr Bulwer would have appeared to the greatest advantage in its execution. What a theatre for scenes of this description does Athens offer! what themes for the graphic narrator! and how strongly marked are the pauses and transitions in the action he is invited to record!

The curtain would rise on the PELASGIANS. More pains might be taken with the picture of that extraordinary race—the most illustrious branch of the great Japhetic family—than any of our historical writers has yet vouchsafed; and the results would amply recompense a diligent enquirer. Barbarians they were not, in any sense, classical or vulgar, of that indefinite term. One honest tradition, admitted even into the pages of Plato, contradicts the poetical theory of aboriginal savage life, and attests the existence of a primitive Greek civilisation. The Pelasgians of Greece, like the earliest inhabitants of many other lands, accommodated themselves to the varying features of the country. According to that patriarchal division of pursuits, dictated and maintained by the very aspect of the earth we dwell on, some were keepers of sheep,' and some were • tillers of the ground.' They had the eye of the grazier for healthful pastures.

They had the instinct of the farmer for rich plains. They had the political tact—as in the case of the settlers in Attica—sometimes to prefer those situations wherein local defects held forth a proinise of unmolested possession, to regions of greater fertility, but iherefore of greater insecurity ;—the dinner of herbs' with peace, to the stalled ox' with danger. Their polygonal architecture was ingenious in its characteristic device, and has chronicled its own tale in traces that are still legible. They practised the art of navigation. They founded ancient thrones, and here and there,-if probable inferences may be drawn from words of Aristotle's, -struck out the rudiments of the representative system. Their language, involving in its structure the chief germs of the Hellenic and Latin tongues, exhibited those beautiful principles taught by the philosophy of nature, from which the best forms of modern speech have more or less degenerated. The charms of Song were not unknown to them: nor unknown were either the mystic rites of the oracular shrine, or the cheerful ceremonies of the religious festival. Strangers, it is true, at last are seen to mix with the Pelasgic population; but their figures must be kept to the back-ground of the stage. Even on the Athenian faith, and works of art, are stamped some traits of the Egyptian physiognomy. But slight-demonstrably slight-—as was the impression made by foreigners on the Greek vocabulary, it was no deeper on the Greek manners. They might plant ihe olive on the soil of Attica; but assuredly they did not associate her previous inhabitants in agriculture: they might extend the catalogue of gods and goddesses, but they did not teach the morality of marriage, or the worship of a deity.

Those clouds which, after all our researches, will continue to

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